Melvin Lee Willis, Jr, the current Vice Mayor of Richmond. was born and raised in Richmond where he attended local public schools. For the last six years he worked as a Community Organizer with Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), where he defended homeowners from the greed of banks and speculators. He also is an advocate for tenants whose rents continue to skyrocket, and for the homeless, many of whom have been priced out of rental homes.
While on City Council, Melvin was instrumental in passing the first California rent control law in 30 years here in Richmond. He helped extend health care for the undocumented in Contra Costa County, and introduced the ordinance that will increase the minimum wage in Richmond to $15/hour. He served as a Richmond Planning Commissioner (2012-2014) and is familiar with government protocols and policies. In 2013 Melvin was honored to receive the 17th annual “Mario Savio Young Activist Award.”
As Mayor, Melvin's top priority will be to build coalitions and increase community participation in all aspects of government. He believes Richmond can be a place where we all rise together.
Melvin Willis Candidate Statement
I’m running to be a Mayor for every Richmond resident.
I don’t accept campaign money from corporations or developers. My loyalty is only to Richmond voters.
As a Richmond City Councilmember (2016-2018) and Vice-Mayor (2018), I voted to:
- Increase minimum wage to $15
- Fully enforce the rent control protections passed by voters
- Stop sharing information about immigrants with ICE
- “Ban the Box” so the formerly incarcerated can rejoin our community
- Protect the shoreline from developers so it can be used by all
Richmond today is safer, healthier, and more prosperous than when I was born. The improvements are due to the work of progressive people and organizations who came together to set the city on a better path. As Vice Mayor and a housing-rights community organizer, I am proud to be part of this alliance.
Nevertheless, there is more work to do, and the gains we have made are at risk. We face local and federal attacks on working families, women, people of color, immigrants and the environment. We run the risk of becoming two cities, divided by race, wealth, health and opportunity. Or a city where people who are not affluent are pushed out completely.
I believe there is a better future for Richmond, one in which we all rise together. My commitment is to work with you to increase affordable housing, to improve wages and skills, to protect the environment, to secure a local hospital, and to expand opportunities for youth.